PARADIP: The Orissa High Court on Tuesday directed Jagatsinghpur Collector to resolve the dispute pertaining to use of gochar (grazing) land by IOCL for its Paradip-Hyderabad Product Pipeline (PHPL) project by March 1.
As per a petition filed by Debendra Swain and 11 others of Dhinkia village against secretary of Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, principal secretary of Revenue and Disaster Management, Jagatsinghpur Collector, IOCL chairman and Erasama tehsildar, use of gochar land for industrial purposes violates provisions of Odisha Government Land Settlement Act, 1962. The petitioner had prayed the court to direct the opposite parties to refrain from using gochar land for the project.
In 2018, the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had issued a notification under sections 6 (1) and 6 (2) of Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962 and earmarked the gochar land at Erasama for laying of pipeline for the PHPL project. IOCL had paid licence fee as per norms to the Revenue and Disaster Management department for grant of right of way for the project. However, it started the work without getting the right of way which was stopped by residents of Dhinkia on October 1 last year. As per Odisha Government Land Settlement Act 1962, there is provision of de-reservation of gochar land. Under the Act, no government land recorded as Gochar can be reserved for any purpose or settled without being deserved in accordance with provisions.
On the other hand, the land schedule provided in 6 (1) declaration of Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962 does not have any reference of grazing land. Such ambiguity during the process of land acquisition is not sustainable, a bench of the High Court comprising Justice S Murlidhar and Justice S Panda noted while disposing of the petition through video-conference.